Music is Sex
I’m sitting here, between bands at the moment, feeling very unfulfilled, and my mind starts to wander; I know this feeling. It’s this feeling of aimless desire, being unfulfilled. Something missing in my life. A feeling that’s similar to sexual frustration; it’s musical frustration.
There’s no music in my life, and I am suffering because of it. Distracted and moody, tense and cranky. I need a good solid bass line to get behind, dammit!
Chain-smoking and knocking back the soda in a quest to fill the emptiness, I realize how much being in a band is like being in a relationship, and the music: the music is sex.
I can only speak from personal experience here, I don’t know if others get off on the music like I do, but I think it’s a widespread phenomena. You see a band on stage and you can tell if they’re lost in the act of creation, or if they’re just faking it. I remember when I went to see the Dirty Three and they were in the throes of passion up there, sweating and hot and lost in the beauty of the moment. Orgasmic violin and waves of excitement that passed beyond the stage and got the audience all hot and sweaty as well. Making love, making music. You see some bands, and they are just flat, uninspired. Making music for the pleasure of the audience, and just faking their enthusiasm. Bands that have been around forever and are just going through the motions or bands who are making themselves known because they have one song that gets overplayed on the radio. Performance for the audience is just sleazy, making me feel like I’m a john off the street watching some tired performance with too much distance between me and the performer. Peeping through the pane of glass trying to gather some personal satisfaction watching someone attempt to jack off. Not worth it.
Then there’s the melodic prostitution. Some guy with a big guitar and a bigger ego standing on stage with his hired band behind him, telling them what he wants and what he doesn’t want. Play this, play that. Do me right, and you’ll get paid. It’s not always prostitution though. Depending on the performance, depending on the solidity, or lack of, within the back up band, it could also be a string of musical one-night stands, orgies, or swingers having their decadent fun. The way someone holds their sticks, the way the bass player stands, legs spread, the way that singer licks the microphone, almost swallowing it whole, the way that guitarist slides fingers smooth up and down the neck, coaxing tones in rhythm with the thump and grind of the bass line. Then some other musician comes along, and you like the way they hang off the mic stand better, or another drummer whose beats make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. A guitarist who may not have the same finger dexterity, but can hold notes solid and long, wavering steady through the instrumental chorus, and you do some swapping, play the field, find out what you like and don’t like.
I find that it often comes down to the communication between the band members. Good communication can lead to some great music. Not only that, but a lasting relationship. Sometimes, when the communication is not so good, the music can still be very powerful; those times when you find people you can play with, and you don’t have to talk to them, you may not even really get along with them, but when you find yourselves together in a dark practice space, the amps come on, notes are struck, and the passion leaps out. Music at first sight. Pure sonic lust.
This is good, this is bad. You can’t really control yourself and you’re lost in the music. You cancel plans with friends so you can rehearse, you stay up late and are tired out when you go to work the next day. You have drumbeats and guitar riffs circling around in your mind and every time you close your eyes you can imagine playing that one song, that song that just moves you. You’re determined to fill this band up, spread the beats wide, keep the rhythm tight. Rolling toms and guitar waves. Erotic tense bed sheet stained style, running wild, hard desire. The curves of the chords; strain, unfold, and fly!
Then the fire can fade, and you’re left with another band making empty music. Where has the spark gone, where are the songs we used to make? I think the strongest bonds are formed when the band can communicate well. The music may take longer to come, but sometimes the wait is worth it. The songs are so much stronger, longer lasting, and we all benefit.
Right now, though? Right now I’m sitting here without a band. Thinking maybe I should give up trying to work with other people. Maybe I should go solo… There’s really nothing wrong if you just wanna sit around and play with yourself, is there?